The new China

Redwood Comment
Published:  30 March, 2016
Mike Redwood

There is an understandable tendency to see the world around us as in a steady state. Perhaps given current events we would all shout out they we hoped not, but business-wise I have worked with many Chief Executives (with a couple of noted exceptions in Latin America and the USA) who look at the previous ten years and argue strongly that the future will be the same. "This is how it has always been and nothing significant is going to change." Most lost either their business or their job, or both. 

With few tanners having fully fledged senior marketing staff companies have to work hard to see over the horizon. Hence there was a view that with nearly a billion and a half people China would have an infinite source of labour and be the final resting spot for all the world's low cost manufacturing. This despite clear data on a declining and ageing population and repeated government statements that mass production of low value added items would not be enough to keep China's economy moving.

Today we are in the midst of grappling with some of the outcomes of these changes. They are spiced up with a truly hefty dose of global geopolitics which have interrupted quite a number of well established trading arrangements from raw materials to finished product sales.

Set up decades ago as an interface between the traditional major tanning countries at the East, APLF has always been a mercantile show, and the moment in the calendar when all sectors of the industry gather to try and identify the big flows of stocks around the leather world, be they raw, semi-proceeded or finished. So APLF 2016 finds itself in a unique place. Tanners come to learn about what is happening and much of what is happening centres around changing events in China and nearby countries. And this is a moment of significant change.

I am one that subscribes to the view that the new China will be.....well, China. But things are changing and it will not be the same China. 

Mike Redwood

mike@internationalleathermaker.com

Follow Mike Redwood on twitter: @michaelredwood

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